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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:58 PM

At the Gate - Thursday

It kind of feels like Christmas morning, doesn’t it?

The 40-day Saratoga meeting kicks off this afternoon with an outstanding 10 race card, with mostly large fields and plenty of good betting opportunities.

After a steady diet of short fields the past few weeks at Belmont Park we kicks things off with an early Pick 5 with fields of 9, 12, 7, 11 and 12. We will see a few main track only scratches if Mother Nature cooperates, but still a great way to start the meeting.

We have a pair of opening day stakes on tap—the $150,000 Schuylerville (G3) for two-year-old fillies and the $100,000 Quik Cal (G3) for three-year-olds.

In addition, do not forget that the late Pick 5, which previously was restricted to players betting through the NYRA’s own ADW and on track is now open to everyone.

Racing has been cut back to five days a week, with Mondays now dark. It was a great decision, and it should help handle and field size.

The Schuylerville is the traditional kickoff to the stakes races. Overall during the meeting there are 76 stakes with purses of over $20 million.

Nine go in the Schuylerville led by a pair of Doug O’Neill runners in Shippy (2-1) and Comical (5-1). Shippy broke her maiden in her debut at Laurel Park by 10 ¾ lengths in a good looking outing.

The Quik Call drew a field of 11 with one entered for main track only. It is a wide-open field and the 5-2 morning line favorite Call Paul is making his turf debut for trainer Jason Servis.

Also making his first start on turf is the Todd Pletcher trained Sombeyay (6-1), who was beaten a nose in a tough loss in the Lookin At Lucky at Monmouth Park.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package. It gives you a month of Saratoga Reports daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

To purchase my Saratoga Report for Thursday click here .

Here is the opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:

SAR Race 1 Clm $14,000N3L (1:00 ET)
#2 Armament 3-1
#6 Tiz No Bluff 5-1
#7 Real Dan 5-2
#4 Hollywood Handsome 4-1

Analysis: Armament lands with the Gullo barn after the gelding was fifth last out against $50,000 non-winners of three in the care of Broberg, who claimed him two back for $30,000. He shows up gelded here and is jammed in for a $16,000 tag. The barn is 19% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers to the barn. He has done most of his work on turf and the fake stuff, but he did win two back on dirt at Fair Grounds which is his lone start over a fast dirt surface.

Tiz No Bluff was a much the best winner last out against $16,000 non-winners of two in his second start off a 2 1/2-month break. He caught slop two back where he was third against $30,000 non-winners of two. He steps up a condition here but looks headed in the right direction form wise for the Nevin barn.

WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,4,6,7
TRI: 2,6 / 2,4,6,7 / 2,4,5,6,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 8 The Schuylerville G3 (5:15 ET)
#1 Shippy 2-1
#8 Aurelia Garland 3-1
#5 Comical 5-1
#2 Integral 6-1

Analysis: Shippy is one of two in here sent out by the O'Neill barn. The filly rolled to a 10 3/4 length win in her debut at Laurel park over six foes and earned the top last out speed fig in the field She was trained by Timothy Kreiser and was purchased privately after her big maiden win. She comes back here for a barn that is 26% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers to the barn. She has one local drill over the main track here and Ortiz picks up the call. She earned solid early and mid pace numbers and with the rail draw figures to be sent. Her stablemate also has some early zip so it will be interesting to see how the first two furlongs play out. She was a $77,000 Ocala purchase, by Midshipman out of a Speightstown mare, her first foal to race.

Aurelia Garland broke her maiden over the main track here in her debut, winning by five lengths as the chalk. The runner up Talk You Out of It came back to run third in the Astoria in her next start and then was third when back in with maiden sin her most recent start. Ward is having a good year with his juveniles but is 0 for 7 with two year olds in graded stakes at the Spa going back five years and according to David Grenig of the DRF Ward is 0 for 32 in graded stakes overall at the Spa in his career which is a mind blowing stat. No doubt this filly has some talent and this race did not come up all that tough. She is out of first crop sire Constitution and out of a Dixie Union mare that has dropped three other foals to race, all winners.

Comical is also sent out by O'Neill. The filly took the field gate to wire to break her maiden in her debut at Santa Anita. I don't think she beat much, the four that have come out of that race have run fourth, fifth, fifth and eighth. Her Bris number (97) matches her stablemates but the Beyer is just a 75 while our top pick earned an 87. Castellano picks up the call on this gal, who is by Into Mischief out of a stakes placed Tiznow mare that has dropped two other foals to race, this gal the lone winner to date.

WIN: #1 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 1,8 / 1,2,5,8
TRI: 1,8 / 1,2,5,8 / 1,2,5,8,9

Live Longshots:
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

R2: #3 Sneakiness 8-1
R4: #4 Autostrade 8-1
R4: #3 Mr. Discretionary 8-1
R6: #6 Bronx Bomber 10-1
R9: #3 Gladiator King 8-1
R10: #12 Dottie’s Spirit 10-1

Good luck today!

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